—by which I think you mean—you’ll correct me if I’m wrong—that the arts aren’t really, if we get down to it, necessary.
With that, I’m inclined to agree.
Neither is the pine outside my window, gazpacho in Paris, or my seven-year-old agreeing to sit still as the dentist fills her back molar.
Peeling back that onion: neither are picture frames, certain birds, or the jasmine on the sill, which may not survive. Bougainvillea: salmons, pinks, reds. The world over, people have lived without eucalyptus, and definitely pecans.
Saying more probably isn’t necessary, though I told my children, banging on the door, that it is.
Unless someone determines that my walking is unnecessary, surgery will be in order. For some problems, people can’t get surgery. Some people are ridiculed for that on TV, which—hopefully you agree—wasn’t necessary.
No one needs to pray. I don’t need to hold my face against my daughter’s just because this is how she prefers to do so.
Though you have a point: how far does the Necessity Onion peel? And if, brushing the scraps from the cutting board into the bin, I touch my eyes, who will get me to the sink?
Dance of any kind is unnecessary. Same is true of perfect pitch, an organized desk. Street cats. But once, the neighbors picked one up, umbilical cord attached. It was bald, pitiful. I didn’t need the allergies it would cause, or the days spent searching for someone to take it off our hands. But it helped when my daughter set her alarm every two hours, mixed cottage cheese with egg and syringed it into its closed mouth. It helped when she massaged its belly and butthole to make it poop, after which she’d go back to sleep, wake up, and repeat.
Still, you’re right: I’m comparing apples and oranges. One has a thicker skin. One keeps the doctor away, though I’ve heard the other might, too. Admittedly, one is juicier. But onions, too, leave an unmistakable residue.
Photo via Gaby Altenberger.